I have a review of THE ORPHANGE posted at Cinefantastqiue Online. This is the Spanish-language ghost story executive produced by Guillermo Del Toro; although he did not write and/or direct THE ORPHANAGE, it does bear some comparison with his works, such as THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE and PAN'S LABYRINTH.
- The ghost story is such an ancient form of storytelling that one might have expected it to wither away and die like a dried up flower laid upon a dusty tombstone, yet it continues to live on - in both literature and film - like some kind of mournful banshee, refusing to rest quietly in its grave. How is it that a genre whose basic machinery was codified over a century ago - before the birth of modern cinema - can continue to engender new and terrifying movie-going experiences? The secret - as illustrated in the new Spanish-language film THE ORPHANGE - is that the film must be about something other than simply a haunting. Create a character and/or a situation that invokes dark and dismal thoughts, and then use the supernatural devices as externalizations of the character’s anguished mental state; the old, familiar cliches can still send a shiver down the spine when they serve a solid, dramatic purpose. In short, the way to craft a modern ghost story is to craft an interesting story with a ghost (or at least the possibility of one) included.
Read the whole thing here.